Turkish Delight & Baklava at Koska
Nelson: Turkey's most famous dessert is Turkish Delight. I was first introduced to this through the Narnia series where it is so coveted that it makes one of the characters betray their siblings for a little taste. It's gotta be good right?
Well I managed to try it here in Toronto before and didn't particularly like it. When I tried it in Turkey? I loved it.
We happened upon this store called Koska which is a large chain with many stores throughout the city. It's really fun going into any shop selling Turkish Delight in Turkey mostly because of the free samples. I have no shame and tried every single flavour :) Really I'm doing research for my readers ;)
Turkish delight (lokum in Turkish) is simply made up of mostly starch and sugar. For taste, another liquid ingredient is added as well as solid ingredients like nuts for texture. Finally there is powdered sugar on the outside. It sounds so simple, yet when fresh it tastes great!
As you can see there are so many choices! Here are some different types: hazelnut (one of my favourites), pistachio (local Turkish pistachio are excellent), rose (the traditional flavour), plain, lemon (has a strong taste) and I can't read the rest.
Here are some more, but there is coconut on the outside instead of powdered sugar. There is also a fig flavoured one, but I don't recall trying this one flavour. Will have to next time I'm there.
Ah, free samples :) The next time we came by this store they had taken this away :(
The store window display is great because of the mounds of of Turkish delight that entices customers. Every time we passed by it was hard to resist stepping inside.
The other half of the store is the Baklava. Similarly enticing diplays of stacked baklava really draw in the customers.
One of my favourite flavours turned out to be pomegranate. This one has pistachios as well, but the reason it is so good is because of the intense pomegranate flavour that comes through when eating this. It tastes so fresh, so natural, so sweet and so good. We ended up buying this for presents back home, but unfortunately it didn't taste as good. For some reason it had coconut on the outside instead of the powdered sugar that detracted from the natural taste and it just didn't taste nearly as fresh. Keep that in mind when you bring some back for home!
After sampling so much, we decided to buy a few items. We bought the above pomegranate and then hazelnut as well. But we also bought some baklava. This is the pistachio type with pistachio on top and throughout the bottom. It was delicious!
We also bought this type of pistachio baklava called Antep Usulu Kadayif (sweet pistachio). It turned out that that strands were so hard that I chipped my tooth :( It is similar to this last picture, but the one we bought was the rectangular version. It was good, but we had even better baklava later in the trip. Stay tuned!
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